dark states and entanglement
streets wasted · in the strong accord
strictly random · i describe forms
i embrace corrupt practice
as signifying something
from the later, well documented
portion of his career
places closed that will not reopen
bare trees in the cold sun
time for enhancing those skills
of somewhere a motor
one route the less
"Typhoid runs the following course."
“…Or where the stark roof-tree
Of a burnt home blackened and sear lies dark,
Betwixt the gaunt-ribbed ruin, hast thou seen
The rose of peace…” --Sydney Dobell, Balder: Part the First (1854)
Driving on a drizzly morning, I hear “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix and idly wonder whence its building triumph derives. It’s a dirge, but a dirge of victory. Surely not for unpunished murder?
“The black swan of trespass on alien waters” --Ern Malley
There are layers here. First, the blues song. You can sense a bedrock here compounded of guilt and remorse, for which the indirect narrative only partly accounts. This darkness might stem from alcoholism or some other social abjection; however, its meaning has been lost by the time the Sixties rolled through and took from the Blues more inflection than innuendo.
“Departed am I who loathe the snow/ of my summers” --Robot X, 1627.
That stark plot, which forms fugitive agency out of its confrontation between two codes—civil law and the ego’s law of possessiveness—stands for a more timely opposition, known then and for decades thereafter by the name of “Counterculture.”
“ ‘Playful or rude. That’s the difference between good chaos and bad chaos…’ ” --Lyda Morehouse, Messiah Node (2003)
And in the moment of Hendrix’s rendition, the Counterculture was finding itself numerous, visibly other, and martial with its flower power trinity of free love, rock ‘n’ roll, and sacramental marijuana.
“The Jabberwock will set his jaw a notch
And vaguely chew Cuchulain for a day.” --Jack Spicer
Listening to it now, I can’t help but be reminded that the mechanism of commercial radio supplying me with this very anthem, piercing the ether as comfort music for ageing Boomers wracked with bright-minted apocalypse at the deliquescence of their unprecedented privilege, gives that revolution the lie.
“In our house of lamentation
We light the candle from the lightning.” --Mirza Ghalib
Yet consumerism has failed to extinguish that part of urban nomadics later dubbed “the homeless”: and no longer triumphant, but given back to its first grief, the old song claims new poignancy in the hour of its return.
“I do not want / a leg, I want/ a floor” --Robot X, 1038.
Gwyneth Jones, in her 2004 novel Life, talks about being “elective refugees.” To see plain causality, to know Peak Oil, and to interpret our common unstoppable future, is to set oneself apart from the religion of the state, is to turn off the opiate of the masses and to step outside, under a rather troubled sky; entering into his gnosis without deliverance, you drop a caste, you cease to count in the vote on who gets to keep playing the game or game of games. You are here on sufferance. Call it dhimmitude.
“Later times may again live in palaces. Ours is the founding time, the time of tents. It makes no sense to build palaces today, since no people exist for whom it would be appropriate to live in them.” --Stefan George
That term, which originally signalized a clemency toward religious dissidence unknown in the medieval West, was recently resurrected by Bat Ye’or to describe a paranoid fantasy of being enslaved by the creeping tide of Islam; in other words, the richest by the poorest of the poor. (So might an Afghan tribesman’s curse bring down the jet bearing “smart” munitions.)
“the occiput which rolls is ecstatic” --Javant Biarujia
But as there is no corresponding word for the state of being a Muslim in Christian society, so must this term also serve, by ineluctable metonymy, for its mirror-twin: and we who feel this condition and know it for our own, might just as well pass for Mozarabs, as try to remain neutrally non-Consumer.
“Sugar is not a vegetable.” --Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons
I am concerned above all with remaining a writer outside of the writing scenes. (One way or another materially I’ll pull through.) This cannot be done without a stance, a practice, that is more than just fashionably rebellious.
“A poet almost has to invent his own land and then has to defend it.” --Spicer
There’s no nourishment in the pose, and of course the real transgression will out: your cancer sun, your indifference to the threat of having to walk somewhere.
“And do not heed those fools who say that these Companions were expert calligraphers and that their errors are only apparent, having a symbolical hidden meaning…” --Ibn Khaldun, in: An Arab Philosophy of History, ed & tr Charles Issawi (1950)
“BUT the Future is only dark from outside. Leap into it—and it EXPLODES with Light.” --Mina Loy
“If you’ll exchange, I’ll give to you
Bokhara—yes! and Samarcand.” --Hafiz, Wine for a Breaking Heart (tr Richard Le Gallienne, 1903)